The Blues thought they had agreed a deal with Napoli in August 2016 but the Azzurri baulked at selling the centre back having sold star striker, Gonzalo Higuain, to Juventus, weakening their defence late in the transfer window was a step too far.
Antonio Conte is determined to strengthen his defence with club legend John Terry, having left Stamford Bridge this summer. The former club captain is on the verge of a move to the Championship; Birmingham City and Aston Villa are both keen on signing the former England international.
Chelsea’s squad lacks depth in the centre of the defence, and Koulibaly was a pivotal member of the Napoli side which finished third in Serie A. With plenty of experience in European football, the Senegalese international is Conte’s first choice acquisition this summer.
Whether Napoli will be tempted by an offer of around €60m is another matter. While Chelsea’s offer represents a profit of €50m, the Italian club want more, knowing that the English champions were prepared to go higher last season.
With the selling club playing hardball, this could the summer’s transfer saga for both clubs.